Monday, July 17, 2017

Listen


You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him;
 and you shall keep His commandments, 
LISTEN to His voice, 
serve Him and cling to Him.
Deuteronomy 13:4


There are a lot of voices in your head.  It sounds like just one, but the truth is there are a lot of competing influences that ring in your mind and it's hard to determine which ones are good and which ones are bad. The world is pretty loud and our flesh is pretty strong, so how do we know if the voice we are listening to is God's?

Let me start out by pointing out that God's initial command here is to FOLLOW, then FEAR and KEEP.  After these things, He says to LISTEN.  Unfortunately we tend to do these things in the wrong order.  We want to hear the voice of the Lord and then we'll decide whether or not we want to follow Him.  But it doesn't work that way.  The choice to follow must come first; a strong walk in surrender to His will, built on a healthy foundation of awe and respect for His character - these things must be in place in order for you to hear the voice of the Lord.

I had a woman once approach me after a Worship on the Waterfront concert I had been involved in.  I was directing a children's choir and our concert included a live band and adult praise team, plus 70 children.  This woman praised my efforts and told me that God had told her that because men were not stepping up and leading the way God had called them to, God was done with male leadership in the church and He was now going to raise up strong women to fill the void.  She had heard His voice and was His messenger.  The problem was that her message was contrary to God's Word.  If I didn't know the Word and understood God's design for church leadership, my flesh might have embraced this woman's message.  But I knew the Word and knew the voice she heard was not from God. As politely as I could I explained that to her and she didn't take it well.

We must know the Word, we must be actively walking closely to the Lord before we trust the voices in our head to be from God.  And even then, we must learn to listen and compare, before we act.

I know a gal who was very close to the Lord.  She walked with Him daily.  She relied on Him for her every need.  Her marriage was built on Him and I really don't know any other woman who lived in God's presence the way that she did.  Then one day she met someone...well, actually it was a talking snake...who told her that God was keeping something from her.  Then she assessed the information for herself and decided that he was right, and she broke her relationship with the Lord.  As a matter of fact, her actions along with her husband brought great destruction into the world.  

How did this happen to Eve?  She was in full fellowship with the Lord and didn't even have a sin nature to distort things!  The problem was that the voice in her head was not the Lord's and instead of comparing what God said to what the voice said, she acted on the voice.

When we listen to the voice of God, we must know His Word so that we know it is from Him.  All too often I hear people explain that they are hearing from the Lord and what they are hearing is contrary to His Word.  This is why FOLLOWING, FEARING and KEEPING must come first.  Then hearing will be a natural response to what we know about Him.

The flip side is this:  we just spent 8 months watching videos at church of people who listened to the voice of the Lord and had gospel moves all over the place!  The Lord would lay on their hearts to pray for hurting people around them, or to ask forgiveness when they were difficult at work, or to stand up for God's truth in a class, despite the negative response.  These are true examples of listening to the voice of God and acting on it.  By faith, they knew who God is and what His Word teaches, they knew the Gospel and what it means in life, and when the Lord nudged them to act, they obeyed.  What a wonderful example of LISTENING for all of us!  (to see the videos:  click here)

So what voice do you hear in your head and what is your process to determine if it is from the Lord or not?  We are commanded by God to listen to His voice, therefore we must commit to knowing His Word and surround ourselves with godly influences to determine if the nudging is from the Lord or from another source...

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